Work forms and questions about being "handicapped."

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Date Joined Jul 2008
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   Posted 9/5/2009 12:14 AM (GMT -7)   
The weirdest thing happened today.
I am filling out forms for my new job and it asked in two places if I was disabled or handicaped.  I think, "no, of course not."  But since I use disabled parking (non disabled parking requires use of a lot of stairs), I wondered if I should mark "yes."  I thought and thought about it and could not decide.
I decided to ask the disability resource department about it, and drafted an email.  "I don't know if I should indicate that I have a disability.  I have a neuro/muscular disorder and osteoarthritis along with myofacial pain disorder and a condition which causes my joints to deteriorate sooner than they should.  I sometimes walk with a cane and am using the disabled parking places."   After I read the email, I felt ridiculous.  Yes, that sounds like an disability. I deleted the email and never sent it.   So I marked yes even though I didn't really want to. 
Nevertheless, I do not feel disabled.  There are a lot of people worse off than me.  It felt strange to say I am.  I think the term is misleading.  I like differently abled better.

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Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 1771
   Posted 9/5/2009 4:57 AM (GMT -7)   
I had my first "publicly acknowledged" experience with being disabled (and I like your suggestion of differently abled better :-) ) a few weeks ago. 
We went to see a small traveling performance of Cirque du Soleil (sp?).  I did request an aisle seat, but when I got there, the 3 seats assigned to my family (of course) were right in front of this hand rail thingy that caused our seats to sit completely bolt upright, unlike the other 1000 seats in the venue which reclined just enough so that our knees weren't in our chins.
I sat there for all of about 2 minutes and decided that I just couldn't handle it.  When I asked to move seats, I told the lady that I had some health problems and couldn't sit in those seats.  She said, "Oh you need to switch to the handicapped section."  It was a little disconcerting at first, but when I went to those seats, I was so grateful to sit in them.  I never considered myself handicapped or disabled before, but sitting in those seats gave me something to ponder.
I recently bought tickets for myself and my daughter to go to the ballet at a different venue.  This time, I asked for handicapped seating from the start.  I realized that I don't have to suffer.  Those seats are made for people like me who can't handle the regular ones.  There is no reason to create more pain for myself if I don't have to. 
It was quite a revelation for me in many different ways.
I don't consider myself really disabled either because I can do so many things.  I like the term differently abled better, but maybe it is just a matter of semantics. :-)
Hugs - Austen

"There is no charm equal to tenderness of  heart." - Jane Austen
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Post Edited (AustenFan) : 9/5/2009 12:38:46 PM (GMT-6)

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Date Joined Jul 2008
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   Posted 9/5/2009 8:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Austen. It is nice to hear from someone with similar feelings. I am glad to know I am not alone!

I used to dance in a group called 'Dance for all bodies and abilities.' Don't let that fool you. I am pretty awkward and clumsy when I dance. I joined because I thought all abilities meant people who can't dance. It was an expressive group that had accomplished dancers and beginners and people with disabilities. I got the term differently abled from them.

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Date Joined Aug 2007
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   Posted 9/5/2009 9:24 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm being faced with this more and more all the time myself. When I go shopping here in our little town it is not an issue cause I can always find parking close. But when we go on vacation I like to go to a mall or any kind of store after being in the car for hours and walk around to get the blood moving again, I even told my DH that is a good idea for him too at his age. Finding close up parking in a larger city in the evenings is not always an easy thing to do unless you get lucky. Like the rest of you I don't consider myself disabled cause I can walk but every step I take uses energy that I don't have to spare. Going up steps is torture for me with my back, if there isn't a rail to use to pull myself up there is no way I can do it. We did some genealogy while we were gone and went to a couple of courthouses and my DH pushed me from behind, not a pretty picture I'm sure but they didn't have handrails.
I'm sure my doc wouldn't have a problem with me getting a sticker to use sometimes since he has already said I'm disabled so I guess it is when I get ready to admit that I need it. We would like to take two of the grandsons to the St. Louis zoo this fall and I already told DH there is no way I can walk around a zoo, I would be tired before we were half way through, so I will have to have a wheelchair. I guess it is all about what kind of tools do I need to be able to do what I want to do in life.
luv and hugs
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Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 9/5/2009 10:22 AM (GMT -7)   
I just got a handicap pass this past May, and it has been hard for me. If I didn't have the pass my feet would hurt even more than they do now, but I still feel bad. Why???? I think just because we can still walk, even if its difficult, we still feel like someone else is worse off than we are. Look at most of our signatures and you will see most of us have multiple illnesses, not just one. I am in pain ALL the time to one degree or the other. I can't function without pain meds every 4-6 hours because of this chronic pain, whether it be from Fibro, or my Crohns or my Osteoarthritis. So as much as I hate it, I have to admit to myself that I am disabled too. I guess I am a functioning disabled person. Does that make sense?? Hugs to all.
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   Posted 9/5/2009 4:42 PM (GMT -7)   

I've had handicapped parking since I was 42 years old.  It has helped sooo much over the years but, still, I don't consider myself handicapped...well, not if I don't consider the fog!  shocked    You will get used to it and these things, like the parking and the seating, help our comfort level.  We fibromites ALL can use that!


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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1495
   Posted 9/6/2009 10:08 AM (GMT -7)   
We went to the A's game last night. It was a blast! We were 7 rows behind the visiting dugout so we could see the players clearly. It was really nice. Right when the game started I climbed the stairs to the food level. By the time I got to the top I was exhausted (actually before the top, I felt the need to stop and rest!!). I avoided climbing up the stairs again until the game was over, even though I needed to use the bathroom!

I am not sure what the school will do with the information. I know they will put it in the eeo database, then shred one of the papers. But I don't know about the other page that asks. Maybe it will be used to help with any services I may need, or allow me to park in the disabled parking.
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